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Carl Robinson, Ph.D. on Leadership July 23, 2013
 
We help maximize the effectiveness of individuals and organizations by helping them improve their ability to lead, work together, select and develop their people.  Some of our related business services include: executive coaching, executive team coaching and executive assessments for development and selection.


Carl Robinson, Ph.D., Managing Principal
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Seattle, Washington
206-545-1990
carl@leadershipconsulting.com

In This Issue:

How to Encourage Creative Thinking in Your Organization


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How to Encourage Creative Thinking in Your Organization

The business world is changing at lightning speed and to keep up, your organization needs to stay on its toes. It’s not enough to generate a few good ideas. Instead, you need to push for more.
 
But there’s a science behind commissioning your workforce to generate new, creative concepts. You can’t simply ask for ideas and expect that they will come flowing out at your next management meeting. Instead, employ some guidelines as you generate ideas for your next big project.
  • Set an idea quota. Let your staff know what you will discuss at your next meeting and set a standard: Come to the meeting with 10 ideas to solve the problem (or meet the goal, or make the event a success, etc.). Let the sky be the limit. They don’t need to share all their ideas, but if ideas are generated prior to the meeting, you’ll save time and you’ll be able to jump into the discussion and have a dialogue that will generate ideas that can be acted upon.
  • Let your employees share first. Come to the meeting with your own list of ideas, but don’t share them right away. Too many staff members may be apt to agree with you, rather than use their own forward-thinking abilities.
  • Sometimes the best ideas for new products, streamlining business, or cutting costs come “on the fly,” outside of formal meetings. Capture every idea possible by using idea management systems like Imaginatik or Brightidea (I have no financial ties to these organizations). Even if you’re simply using a shared spreadsheet, allow your staff to brainstorm innovative ideas and get them down on paper—any time. Then set up a team to review ideas from time to time so the list doesn’t become stale and the ideas can be put into action.
  • Learn. As we get more set in our ways, we tend to get stagnate in our ideas. Read books relating to your industry, browse magazines outside of your trade, and attend conferences that relate to your market. Better yet, send your management staff and other key employees to conferences as well. The more educated and “fresh” your staff is, the better their ideas will be.
  • Brag about employees’ creative talents. Whether you are an employee’s immediate supervisor or you manage a different department, everyone enjoys being recognized. So make sure to praise good ideas, and consider doing so to the employee’s supervisor. Not only will you make that person’s day, but you will encourage others to develop more innovative ideas and solutions.
There are so many great ideas out there that have yet to be tried, and if they’re not tried, you’ll never know the result. Look at Newton’s Principia Mathematica or Einstein’s theory of relativity or even Tim Berners-Lee’s development of HTTP, URL and HTML. These all started as simple ideas, but allowed the creativity and flexibility to develop; all of these changed the world as we know it. Maybe your organization will have the next great idea.
 



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